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Economy

Budget 2013: industry reaction

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George Osborne gave his fourth budget statement as chancellor of the exchequer in parliament this afternoon, but his speech was light on support for the green economy. Here’s the pick of the reaction.

Click here to read more about what Osborne had to say.

John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace

“This was a 20th century budget for a 21st century economy.

“We got tax breaks for polluters and almost complete disinterest in the green economy, one of the only sectors that has consistently delivered jobs and growth in recent years.

“British businesses stand poised to become dominant forces in the global clean energy market, but they’re being undermined by a chancellor who seems increasingly ill-suited to the times we live in. This man lacks a vision.”

Andrew Pendleton, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth

“This is yet another fossil-fuelled budget that will leave the UK struggling in the wake of forward-thinking nations that are already investing in the clean industrial revolution.

“Our economy desperately needs new ideas, but George Osborne is a 19th century chancellor, using 20th century tools to fix 21st century problems.

“A few crumbs of comfort for the green economy are dwarfed by his enthusiasm for new oil and gas. That will cut little ice with the major energy investors demanding he commit to a clean, resilient and future-proof economy.”

David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK

“This chancellor’s budget was remarkable in two respects: first in its overlooking one of the strongest-growing sector of the economy, namely the green economy; and secondly, in its determination to extend yet more tax breaks to the fossil fuel sector.

“With the annual growth rate for the green economy standing at around 5%, it’s simply amazing the chancellor shouldn’t be more vocal in supporting it.

“The prime minister himself has said that the countries that will win the global race in the future economy are the ones that will embrace new, clean green technologies like renewables and energy efficiency.

“Handing yet more subsidies to nuclear and tax breaks to fossil fuels – the technologies of yesterday – whilst ignoring the technologies of tomorrow is not the way to do this. The chancellor seems to be fixated on backing the wrong horses.”

Caroline Escott, head of government relations at the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF)

“It is disappointing that the first budget after the Kay review seems to have been a missed opportunity for the Treasury to strengthen the long-term investment agenda. A clear public policy framework would encourage asset owners, asset managers and company directors to take the necessary steps to build a positive culture of long-termism along the investment chain.

“The lack of reference to Professor Kay’s report follows recent news that the Treasury decided not to give their backing to an economic review of resource depletion, climate change and growth that had been backed by other government departments.

“We therefore urge the Treasury to help break down the barriers to effective long-term investment, and ultimately to help secure sustainable growth which boosts the economy while safeguarding the environment for future generations.

“We were, however, pleased to note that the Government intends to consult on a new tax relief to encourage private investment in social enterprises. We are hopeful that this new consultation will eliminate one barrier for impact investors and their financial advisers.”

Melanie Ward, head of advocacy at ActionAid

“At a time when UK consumers are already feeling the pinch at the pumps, the government could do more to tackle the actual causes of rising prices.

“Removing biofuels targets would help control petrol prices for UK consumers, reduce climate emissions and remove a key driver of global hunger.”

Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group

“The chancellor’s budget and his statement today were really a mixed bag for the all those that believe in the UK’s low-carbon future.

“It’s a pleasant surprise to actually hear the Chancellor mentioning the need for a low-carbon economy. Still, he keeps on making the fundamental mistake of thinking that investment in renewable energy and cleantech ‘costs’ jobs. There is solid evidence from every corner of the world that investment in the low-carbon economy actually creates jobs and increases productivity.”

Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA)

“In response to Lord Heseltine’s call, the budget referred to the energy bill, but our members are sceptical that the new regime will bring forward the major investments needed. We are working with DECC to resolve this, but there are no guarantees at this stage.

“The chancellor missed an opportunity today to ensure us that there is consistent, strong support for our sector across government.

“There is no meaningful dialogue between the chancellor, who speaks solely of the growth opportunities of gas and nuclear, and those calling for investment in renewables.

“We welcome the renewed emphasis on infrastructure, as well as the budget document’s statement that government will consider making more use of independent experts. Local, smaller scale renewables are every bit as critical to modern energy infrastructure as the major projects.”

John Cridland, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

“The commitment to take forward two carbon capture and storage projects and improve the tax regime for shale gas are welcome steps towards achieving a balanced and secure energy mix.

“It is now essential that the energy bill gets onto the statute book as soon as possible to create investor certainty in all forms of energy.

“The move to exempt certain sectors from the climate change levy is good news, as is the commitment to ensure that energy-intensive industries are shielded from new energy costs beyond this spending period.

“This is all the more important given the increasing difference between the cost of carbon in the UK and EU, and it is essential to ensure the competitiveness of our low-carbon industrial base.”

Further reading:

Budget 2013: green measures neglected as Osborne favours fracking

Budget 2013: renewables industry expects ‘measures to boost investment’

Budget 2013: green businesses call for sustainable ISA incentives

Budget 2013: Osborne is keeping the UK ‘hooked to fossil fuels’, campaigners say

The budget speech we want to see

Economy

Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

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“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]mintel.com

Report contents:

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Report definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
ISSUES AND INSIGHTS
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
THE MARKET – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
PUTTING FINANCIAL SERVICES IN AN ETHICAL CONTEXT
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
GREEN, ETHICAL AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ISSUES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
The role of investing
Divestment
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
THE CONSUMER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
THE ETHICAL CONSUMER – SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
CONSUMER TRUST IN THE BEHAVIOUR OF FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS GREEN AND ETHICAL FINANCIAL PRODUCTS
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS IN SOCIETY
The social debt of the financial crisis
THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
CHALLENGER COMPANIES AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

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Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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